Add English Premier League football to the list of sports you have to be fluent in if you want to impress your Chinese friends. Arsenal is launching a Chinese language website. My first experience realizing just how popular the Premiership is in China was while teaching sports journalism at Shantou University in Guangdong province a year and a half ago. The male students in my classes loved the game and knew all of the players, even though the league is half a world away from them. Amazing.
For all you Arsenal novices out there – a few English-language resources for you:
Official site of the Premier League
Arsenal home page
BBC Sport – Football home page
English Premier League blog
ESPN Soccer home page
Yi Jianlian to the Milwaukee Bucks…for now. And Sun Yue to the L.A. Lakers…for now.
Assessing the draft (Sports Illustrated – includes notes on Yi)
Draft winners and losers (Sports Illustrated)
And, contrary to all appearances on the CSB these past couple of weeks, there is actually sports-related news from China that has nothing at all to do with basketball:
Late starters face uphill task in China (News of the NFL in China…from Reuters)
Check out this wonderful Washington Post article on Chinese soccer player Liu Huana, who is vying for a spot on this year’s women’s World Cup team. Nice to see American publications starting to really pay attention to Chinese athletes’ stories in the pre-Olympic year.
The United States national soccer team (that’s football to, well, everyone except Americans and Australians, right?) will play a friendly against China in San Jose, California on June 2. The International Herald Tribune has the story.
It’s a bit of old news now, but there continue to be ramifications for the QPR club in England following the February 7 game/brawl with China. The People’s Daily Online has the latest.
For soccer/football/è¶³çƒ fans who just didn’t get enough last year, China will be hosting the women’s World Cup later this year. Guangzhou is currently hosting an early warm-up tournament, the Four Nations Tournament, and the AP has the story. The marquee matchup is, of course, China versus the U.S.
Shanghaiist has a funny, funny commentary on the woes of Huang Jianxiang, who made a name for himself this week on CCTV-5 by calling the Italy-Australia game as though he was a certified member of Italy’s “La-la-dui” (Chinese for “cheering squad”). It includes a clip of the video in question, as well as an audio clip and Huang’s public apology for his one-sided commentary. Warning to the under-18 gang: it also includes some not-so-nice examples of English-language expletives. But it’s still funny.
Also in the World Cup/Chinese culture subset of the sports news this week: a nice piece from the Inter Press Service News Agency on Beijing’s World Cup culture. Where to watch, where to drink, where to be when the games are on. World Cup in Europe gives Asia some serious nightlife, since the earliest games in the first round started at 9 p.m. China time – and the latest at 3 a.m. And yes, all those pubs and eateries and big-screen televisions in the parks are open for business until the final referee’s whistle sounds.
I squeezed into the very crowded back room of a SoHo pub in Hong Kong last night at 10 p.m. to watch the U.S.-Ghana game. As the two bonafide underdogs in their group, I guess it makes sense that this was the less-sexy game to watch, but I had no idea by how much…in the pub itself there were several televisions, one huge big-screen projection TV, and many multiples of fans than were in the back room – all eyes glued to the Italy-Czech Republic game. It was an almost entirely pro-American crowd in that little smoky back roomÂ - lots of great American accents, lots of expats, some study-abroad university students (including a sweet guy from USC who explained some of the nuances of the game to me) and their friends…For a moment it actually felt like the United States had actual soccer fans…and then Ghana got the penalty kick at the end of the first half, and all the energy of the match just went to nothing…We knew. Even then, it was hard not to feel as though it just wasn’t going to be our night.
The pub stayed open for the 3 a.m. matches, but your CSB correspondent headed home around 12:30 a.m. A good night out with countrypeople…bummer for the not-so-great result. But SoHo during the World Cup is great fun.
How is the World Cup playing in Hong Kong? Quite well, if the scene earlier this evening in the SoHo bar district had anything to do with it. Huge inflatable soccer balls with the adidas and FIFA World Cup logos hang over the streets, as do scores of Carlsberg beer adverts, some adorned with the English flag (the white one with the red cross that I never knew existed until this year’s World Cup…not the Union Jack of Great Britain). Every bar with a television is tuned to the World Cup, and one bar is advertising cheap drinks and eats for both the 10:00 p.m. (China time) Portugal-Mexico game, as well as the 3 a.m. Netherlands-Argentina game (or was it the Ivory Coast-Serbia and Montenegro game…). Beers at 3 a.m. on a Thursday morning in SoHo in Hong Kong for anyone interested…Now just imagine what life is like in a country with an actual team playing. Mine, for instance. The U.S. plays Ghana tomorrow night in a must-win match at the relatively kind hour of 10:00 p.m. China time (4 p.m. in Germany) and I’ll be interested to see how many American fans (and fans of the American team) show up in HK to cheer on their team.
National Public Radio has a great site devoted to World Cup coverage. Enjoy!
Wistful fans wish China were there as World Cup kicks off (People’s Daily Online)
Goooooal-obalization! (Los Angeles Times – a great, informative look at the fight for China’s sports fans: Will it be NBA basketball or European football that wins the hearts and minds of the Chinese?)
China TV expects 10 billion to tune in for finals (Reuters UK)
All eyes on Germany for China’s illegal gamblers (Reuters India)
Beijing Sacks Olympic Construction Head (Channel Nine News, Australia)
US and Chinese Olympic Committees sign Memorandum of Understanding (Associated Press, via the Olympian (WA); the Orange County (CA) Register also reported the story)
NBC wants morning swimming finals in 2008 (Globe and Mail; also reported by the China Daily with comments from Alan Thompson, Australia’s swimming coach, and the Sydney Morning Herald with more comments from Thompson. The SMH printed a second article today on the proposal questioning whether the decision would be in the athletes’ best interests.)
Track and Field: Canada wins against China in Harry Jerome Meet (Runners Web).
Sports Business: Puma confident about its prospects (TMCnet)
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